If you’ve just changed jobs, had a baby, or experienced another major change in your life, it’s important to know how it may affect your insurance coverage. At Benafica, we’re here to help you navigate the changing insurance world and gain security and peace of mind through every chapter of your life. Read on to learn why you should update your insurance right away after a qualifying life event.
What Is a Qualifying Life Event?
During the open enrollment period each year, everyone can enroll in individual health insurance plans. But sometimes a major life event, such as losing your job and employee benefits, can make you eligible for special enrollment.
There are four main categories of life events that may qualify you for special enrollment:
- Loss of health coverage
There are many reasons why you may lose your current health insurance, including:
- Job changes – quitting, getting fired, or starting somewhere new
- Having your hours reduced at work
- Turning 26 and aging out of coverage through a parent’s plan
- Losing eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP
- Changes in household
Getting married or divorced, losing a family member, or adding a child to your family – biological or adopted – are all qualifying life events. You may be able to change plans or add dependents.
- Changes in residence
While not every change in residence is considered a qualifying life event, it’s possible to move out of your plan’s service area or move into an area with providers that weren’t accessible to you before. Examples include employees relocating for work, or students moving to or from the place they attend school.
- Other life events
To suit your new needs, many other life circumstances may qualify you for special enrollment, such as:
- Changes in your income that affect the coverage you qualify for
- Gaining membership in a federally recognized tribe or status as an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporation shareholder
- Becoming a U.S. citizen
- Being released from incarceration
- Starting or ending service in the AmeriCorps
Not sure whether your life event qualifies? Check out this list from HealthCare.gov.
How Long Do You Have to Get Insurance After a Qualifying Life Event?
It’s important to update your insurance as soon as possible after a qualifying event, because special enrollment periods are available for a limited period of time – usually 60 days.
Two months may sound like plenty of time to get your insurance situation figured out, but we all know how quickly the weeks can fly by – especially if the change in your life is taking up a lot of your time and attention, like a newborn!
How to Get Health Insurance Outside of Open Enrollment
Whether you know in advance that you’ll experience a qualifying life event or a big change happens suddenly, you might be qualified to make changes to your health plan. Speaking to a knowledgeable advisor like Benafica as soon as possible can greatly streamline the process and ensure you don’t experience gaps in your coverage.
Here’s what else you should know:
- There are several things you’ll need to prepare for the transition, including many required documents.
- To change your plan selections, notify your current or future health plan sponsor of the qualifying event in your life as soon as possible.
- Different plans have different rules. Contact us about any change in status that impacts your health coverage to find out your options.
In the midst of a major life change, you shouldn’t have to stress about choosing the right insurance for your needs. Schedule a free consultation with a Benafica representative today to find a health insurance plan that fits your lifestyle! Our licensed advisors are here to help you determine whether you’re eligible to enroll outside the yearly open enrollment period. You can reach a representative Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm by calling 651-287-3253 .
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